If helping to look after the planet seems like a monumental task, just making small changes helps and, collectively, it helps a lot. Find an easy, greener, version of everyday tasks and habits and before you know it, those little changes will really make a difference.
Here are a few ideas of how to easily "green" up your life with little effort and probably saving you money in the process too…
1. Save energy!
Turn off lights and electrical devices and appliances when not in use. This is such an obvious and well publicised point, but just getting the whole family into good habits will soon become second nature and it'll help your pocket, as well as the planet. A common, but easily avoidable oversight, is to make sure you switch chargers off when they're no longer in use and don’t be tempted to leave appliances on stand by.
Consider buying or making a garden composter from an old wooden palette for your kitchen food waste and recycle packaging as much as you can. If possible, when you're out, keep a bag with you for any food packaging, bringing it home to recycle it rather than putting rubbish in general public bins, after which it'll end up in landfill.
3. Go Organic
Even if you just substitute one shopping item with organic, it's a step in the right direction – switching to organic milk is a great place to start and look out for organic produce on offer, if affordability is an issue. Try increasing to an additional organic product every month or so.
4. Buy Ethically
Simple brand choices can mean supporting ethical producers and standards. Avoid meat and dairy products from intensive farming producers, by opting for products from animals that have been outdoor reared and/or grass fed. The animals will have had a much happier and healthier life and products from free roaming animals are better for our health too.
When looking for ethically sourced products, consciously support schemes that help producers in poverty-stricken areas of the world where your choices can make an amazing difference to their lives.
5. Ditch Household Cleaners
Not only do most household cleaners add considerably to your shopping bill but they also are contributors to the cocktail of chemicals that we're regularly exposed to, quite needlessly. Natural alternatives, such as white vinegar or bicarbonate of soda can replace many of the products you find on the supermarket shelves, with an added incentive of being cheaper to buy and kinder to our skin. Allergies and sensitivities are commonplace nowadays, with the irritants in so many shop bought cleaning products being regular triggers. Many are also harmful to marine life too, with microbeads and other highly undesirable pollutants making their way into our own food chain.
6. Don't Just Buy "Stuff"!
This is probably the easiest and most cost-effective tip, once you adjust your mindset – and it's arguably, the most important of all. Consumerism has gone mad and although it's such a cliché, we really do live in a throw-away society! We have a tendency to just buy "things" that we really could easily live with out and don't actually need. It's easy to accumulate a whole collection of things we just won't use enough to justify their purchase. Do spend a little more though to buy quality items for longevity, rather than being drawn to cheap products that we won't think twice about throwing away.
Ask yourself if you really do need to buy something before parting with your money and contributing to the ever-growing burden we're placing on the planet - it just doesn't have enough resources to sustain this way of life, in the longer term.